Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tragic Consequences Of The Recession

I've posted a link to and a segment from an article by Nick Turse who has compiled some of the tragic stories of people affected by the recession.

The article comes with this advice. Do not contemplate any type of personal violence if you are experiencing pain as a result of this recession. The most valuable thing, beyond compare, is life. The Human Costs of the Economic Crisis Northampton, Pennsylvania, a 49-year-old woman reportedly robbed a bank and, just 18 minutes later, "arrived at a check-cashing business and arranged for several money orders -- totaling $1,090 -- to pay a portion of the rent she owed her landlord." According to court papers, a "confidential informant" told police the woman had confided that "she was going to rob the bank to satisfy about $1,800 in back rent." The police reported that she was "in the process of being evicted."

Writing Off 2009

Economists are signaling in unison that all of the symptoms of the recession will persist through 2009.

Bloomberg: U.S. Economy May Keep Sliding After Shrinking Most Since 1982
“The recession is going to last through most of 2009, and we’ll be lucky to have growth back at zero by the end of the year,” Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University economics professor, said...

Bank Failures

There were 6 bank failures in January. Here are the three latest. The failures came about from losses on real estate loans.

Bloomberg: Florida, Maryland, Utah Banks Shut as Financial Crisis Deepens
Ocala National Bank in Florida and Suburban Federal Savings Bank of Crofton, Maryland, were shut by federal regulators...

MagnetBank of Salt Lake City was seized by the Utah Department of Financial Institutions.

Coming Up

This coming week data will come out on January's economic shape.

We know the news will be harsh but the data will be parsed to see exactly how harsh.

The various economic articles point to a keen interest among investors on how a stimulus package will work. We are keenly interested as well.

Reuters: After horrid January, stocks eye stimulus
"If they come up with a plan -- any kind of plan -- the market will rally a little bit next week," (the first week of February) said Warren Simpson, managing director at Stephens Capital Management in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Forecasts for the January unemployment rate hover around 7.5 percent, according to ThomsonReuters estimates.

On Thursday, a slew of retailers will post same-store sales figures, which are expected to contract 2.4 percent in January.

The Daily Show - Weekly Recap

Obama's Weekly Address

Mortgage Help Proposal

Hey if we see fixed mortgage rates at 4%, it is time to re-fi.

Reuters: Obama pledges mortgage help with new financial plan
Republicans, who opposed the president's stimulus package of over $800 billion largely because of its spending priorities, suggested mortgage help as well, proposing government-backed 4 percent fixed-rate mortgages for "any credit-worthy borrower," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said.

Bush Nightmare Update

In a way that is similar to how people ended up in Gitmo, subjected to torture and duress all the while being completely innocent of all allegations and suspicions, many Muslims in America were convicted and jailed on trumped up terrorist charges. This is part of the Bush legacy.

Recall how there was a virtual witch hunt for Muslim terrorist cells throughout America after the attacks of 9-11. Recall Muslims not being allowed to travel on planes and in some cases pulled off planes. The stories were frequent and disturbing. In my opinion, some cases were deliberately conducted and pushed through the media in order to create an atmosphere of fear among the American people. This fear powered the radical string of laws, rules, proclamations, and executive orders which also deliberately trampled on the democratic rights of all Americans. This is the real Bush legacy.

There was a distinctly paranoiac and fear filled tone to the entire period.

Consider signing a petition which asks President Obama to look into these cases and review their merit and veracity.

Justice for wrongfully prosecuted Muslims
Many of the questionable prosecutions originated in a special terrorism unit in Washington which used warrantless NSA material to illegally generate suspicion and target individuals. Because the NSA material has been deemed secret, it could not be challenged or revealed to the defendants to show it was unreliable or false. (In the same way, the Justice Department classified secret legal memos that led to the establishment of Guantanamo, secret rendition, torture, and other abuses so that none of it could be challenged and shown to be false.)

"Men's Needs"

The Cribs

Friday, January 30, 2009

Noun Verb 9-11 And Shill

He can understand the outrage but...trickle down really does work, it creates employment.

Giulliani must be talking about all those migrant Mexican nannies and gardeners that tend to madam's whims. No bonuses and they can live under the shack instead of in it.

Think Progress: Giuliani Defends Wall Street Bonuses While Slamming Tax Cuts For The Poor»
Appearing this morning on CNN, however, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani stridently defended the practice of enormous bonuses untethered to actual performance, warning that ending the tradition “really will create unemployment”

Stay Alert

Readers who live in my community, and you know who you are, need to be very mindful of gang activity in our upstate NY city.

This article should work as a serious wake up call to action.

USA Today: FBI: Burgeoning gangs behind up to 80% of U.S. crime
Criminal gangs in the USA have swelled to an estimated 1 million members responsible for up to 80% of crimes in communities across the nation, according to a gang threat assessment compiled by federal officials.

Republicans Elect A New Party Chief

Now this is really quite a surprise development.

I am somewhat skeptical about the choice. Let's be honest, up to this point we were not aware that there actually was a black man in the Republican party.

Given that reality, who the heck is this guy.

Now the big question is this, will the Republican demigod Limbaugh make the same callous remarks about Steele and his skin color that he made about Obama. You know, the one about how we have to be nice to the black guy because he's black...

CNN: BREAKING: Steele picked to lead RNC
Members of the Republican National Committee elected their first-ever African-American party chief on Friday, choosing former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele to chair the organization after six rounds of tumultuous balloting.


The economic news is blossoming like a ripe septic tank.

People are murdering their families, dogs are getting dumped by the side of the road, gourmet spam recipes are all the rage, and Rush Limbaugh thinks he's de facto president of the Republican United States.

What's worse neo cons and Limbaugh, or just Limbaugh alone.

How can we express the dank economic mess we are in. It could be worse.

So we are back to 1982 levels. This is tragic.

Reuters: GDP sees biggest drop in 27 years
...the Commerce Department said gross domestic product plummeted at a 3.8 percent annual rate, the biggest drop since the first three months of 1982.

CNN - Shopping In Davos

The Market On Friday

Not looking like a good day given earning reports for the week and the onslaught of bad news.

Reuters: S&P futures fall on earnings, GDP eyed
S&P 500 futures fell 3.60 points... Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 32 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat.
Let's not dwell on the bad economy, because its the weekend, almost. Instead let's make fun of Republicans -
Why do Republicans avoid living on the West Coast?
They're scared to live that close to the edge of the Earth.

Why do Republicans love doing laundry?
They're naturals at separating the whites from the colors.

Why do Republicans get defined as the right?
Because nobody else has a single right with them in charge.

How many Republicans does it take to change a light bulb?
Two. One for the labor and one to borrow a billion dollars for the materials.

What do you call a Republican who makes their money honestly?

What exactly is a compassionate conservative?
One who cries just a little while flogging hobos with a 2 x 4.


Bloc Party

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Friday

Tough day.

The DOW dropped over 200 points and the economic news remains harsh.

Although we are in the midst of a deep long recession we need to remember that bad news sells. So watch the headlines, but stay objective and reasonable. There are always tiny bright spots.

We are done with Bush. The distressing news seems to come from the articles floating around that point out how Bush ignored all of the warnings from American intelligence that there was very bad stuff going on all over the place with mortgages. We see where that gross negligence has led us. This was Bush.

At some point, we will emerge from the Bush horror. We all have some Bush PTSD, seriously. We are still mentally dragged down by that nightmare. But take heart, he's gone.

Reuters: Nikkei slides 3.4 pct on econ worry, Toshiba sinks

Republican Senator McConnell Disses Republicans

From Republican corporate executives giving themselves billions in bonuses in 2008 (!), to the highly underwhelming and policy challenged Palin, to a radio demigod conveniently forgetting the massive failure of the Bush administration, through a strange collection of bigots, gay bashing homosexual ministers, and post-1950s denying Senators, the Republican party has become nothing less than a freak show.

Do we actually miss the serpentine tongued William F. Buckley - alright maybe Eisenhower.

CNN: McConnell warns of grim GOP future
"And we should be concerned that, as a result of all this, the Republican Party seems to be slipping into a position of being more of a regional party than a national one.

"In politics there's a name for a regional party, it's called a minority party," said McConnell.

Testees - Pill For Men

Obama - Height Of Irresponsibility

John Stewart - Stim City

This Stops Now

This has to stop now.

This is not the "right way" or "right thing to do" because of unemployment or for that matter because of anything. This is stupidest and most tragic thing to do.

When I saw the picture of that young family out in L.A. that was wiped out in the same way I was shocked. This is so wrong, its off the chart.

CNN: Ohio family found dead in suspected murder-suicide
A family of four has been found dead in a Whitehall, Ohio, home, in what's believed to be a murder-suicide, authorities said Thursday.

Record Unemployment

This is the pivotal aspect of the recession. We need more jobs.

I've said this a million times but you can go down any street in America, urban, suburban, or rural and see a huge volume of work that needs to be done to simply maintain the infrastructure. So the work is there, the money is not, but its not like there isn't anything to do. There is a massive backlog of work that needs attention. There are not enough people in America to do all of this work. So, we don't need to hear that there is no work. There's plenty of work, but there needs to be compensation. The printed money spigot needs to be opened to full.

Reuters: Jobless claims hit record peak, orders plummet
The number of people remaining on the benefits roll after drawing an initial week of aid, or continued claims, rose 159,000 to a higher-than-forecast 4.776 million in the week ended January 17, the most recent week for which data is available.

Bush Nightmare Update

Blackwater is being forced out of Iraq.

Jeremy Scahill has done tons of research on the company and its founder. Watch his Democracy Now interview on the youtube clip.

WaPo: Iraq to Deny New License To Blackwater Security Firm
The officials said Blackwater must leave the country as soon as a joint Iraqi-U.S. committee finishes drawing up guidelines for private contractors under the security agreement.

CNN - Stimulus Bill Passes Round One

The Market On Thursday

We've had a nice little run in the stock market, lightly cracking the DOW average posted the day before the inauguration. This is progress? No, it is not progress.

My sense is that Obama's stimulus package talk has been keeping the market slightly buoyant, either that or investors are terrified of the DOW drifting below the 8000s. There is just not much good news, no jobs means no money and no money means nobody buys anything.

Job creation is fundamental.

I'm still shaking my head on the Republican zero support showing for the stimulus bill. The Republicans have decided to kowtow to their great god on the radio. This is ridiculous, if drug induced ranting is their idea of wisdom, they will crumple further.

That 400 to 600 point drop day is coming soon, maybe not today, but soon.

Reuters: Stock futures point to lower Wall Street open
Media reports said on Tuesday that Ford Motor Co.'s finance unit plans to cut one-fifth of its workforce, or about 1,200 people, to save money.


The Kinks

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Thursday

This is the result of Obama's stimulus package.

Reuters: Nikkei gains 1.7 pct on softer yen, US bank hopes
Japan's Nikkei average climbed 1.7 percent...


Holy Shite.

Not one stinking Republican voted for Obama's stimulus package.

Its very difficult trying to be a compassionate person when you have to live in the world with Republicans.

OK, hardball it is. The Dems have the votes without Republicans.

The Republicans did this purely for political reasons.


Over Here - Buy My Debt

The Federal Reserve is undertaking further steps in the bail out effort.

This is actually a fuzzy article but it appears they are talking about buying long term Treasury securities.

Reuters: Fed says ready to buy debt to aid economy
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it is prepared to buy long-term government debt...

"The committee continues to anticipate that a gradual recovery in economic activity will begin later this year, but the downside risks to that outlook are significant," it said.

A report on Friday is expected to show the economy contracted at a 5.4 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year...

CNN: Obama On The Economy

CNN - Stimulus Bill Vote Today

Today is money time.

The vote on the Obama economic stimulus is set for later today. As we know Democrats hold a large advantage in Congress. Next week, its the Senate, and there the story may be very different.

CNN: Obama faces first test with stimulus vote
...the House of Representatives prepares to vote on the bill later in the day.

Policy experts believe the bill will pass easily...

The Market On Wednesday

40,000 to 50,000 corporate jobs were cut on Tuesday. This figure does not include smaller companies. We probably can assume many more job cuts today. Its as if all the residents of one entire city after another loses their jobs.

Futures are up and the market has had a three day period of slight gains.

Investors' attention will be on corporate results from companies in many different sectors. In all probability some results will be better than expected but most will not. The hope is that any market downturns today will be slight.

Obama will meanwhile work to engage bipartisan, read that as Republican, support for his stimulus package and investors are very curious about its potential. This curiosity has added some buoyancy in an otherwise bottomless market.

Reuters: Stock futures up; Fed, slew of earnings eyed
The market will be looking for any announcement of new policy measures, such as purchasing long-dated Treasuries...

...Starbucks...AT&T...ConocoPhillips...Boeing...Boston Scientific...Cabot...Legg Mason ...Qualcomm...Symantec...and Wells Fargo & Co...(will be announcing results).

"The Scarlet Tide"

Elvis Costello

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Wednesday

We've had a mini-surge over the last three trading days. The DOW is still not at the level it was on the day before the inauguration. Remember on Inauguration Day it dropped about 350 points. We haven't gotten it all back yet, and given what's in the batter's box, we won't either.

Reuters: Nikkei falls 0.4 pct after rally, Nomura drops
The Nikkei average fell 0.4 percent on Wednesday as investors dumped shares in companies reporting grim earnings...

10,000 Today

Allegedly Wall St is now once again swooning for a bail out plan.

I'm not sure if this is good news or bad.

Either way, Americans are losing their jobs and that is very bad.

CNN: More than 10,000 job cuts announced Tuesday
...Corning Inc. announced it will cut 3,500 jobs...

...Baker Hughes announced it will cut 1,500 employees...

...Navistar International Corp...700 employees will lose their jobs as a result...

...Avery Dennison announced it will cut approximately 3,600 employees worldwide over the next two years...

Volvo Trucks North America announced permanent layoffs of 650 hourly employees in March and April at its plant in Dublin, Va...

...Weyerhaeuser...cut approximately 220 jobs... reduce costs including job cuts.

Fatah and Hamas

The Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine (Fatah) was founded in the early 1960s by Yasser Arafat and friends of his in Algeria, Fatah was originally opposed to the founding of the PLO, which it viewed as a political opponent. Backed by Syria, Fatah began carrying out terrorist raids against Israeli targets in 1965, launched from Jordan, Lebanon and Egyptian-occupied Gaza (so as not to draw reprisals against Syria). Dozens of raids were carried out each year, exclusively against civilian targets.

Fatah's popularity among Palestinians grew until it took over control of the PLO in 1968. Since then it has been the PLO's most prominent faction, under the direct control of PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

"Fatah" is a reverse acronym of the Arabic, Harekat at-Tahrir al-Wataniyyeh al-Falastiniyyeh. The word "Fatah" means "conquest by means of jihad [Islamic holy war]".
Hamas (an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawamat al-Islamiyya, or "Islamic Resistance Movement") is a radical fundamentalist group founded on December 14, 1987 by the Muslim Brotherhood. ( Hamas describes itself as "one of the wings of the Muslim Brother[hood].") As a single Arabic word rather than an acronym, "Hamas" means "zeal." Its avowed purpose is "liberating Palestine" from the Jew "oppressors," whose presence in the Middle East it considers an affront to Muslims' rightful sovereignty in the land of the Prophet Mohammad. The organization's individual co-founders were Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al Rantisi.

With tens of thousands of loyal supporters, Hamas' strength is concentrated principally in the Gaza Strip and a few areas of the West Bank. The group's leadership is dispersed throughout these same areas, with a few senior leaders residing in Syria, Lebanon, and the Gulf States. Hamas receives some funding from Iran but is supported primarily by donations from Palestinian expatriates around the world and private benefactors in Arab nations.
Gulf News: Hamas says no unity talks while Fatah holds prisoners
There will be no reconciliation talks with Fatah while Hamas activists remain in detention, a Hamas official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah are expected to resume reconciliation talks in Cairo next month but Hamas.

"We will not sit down [with Fatah] until they release [Hamas prisoners], and whoever does not want to release them does not want reconciliation," Salah al Bardawil told Egypt's Al Masry Al Yom newspaper.

Bardawil headed a delegation of Hamas officials from Gaza that met over the weekend with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Sulaiman to bolster a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Both Hamas and Fatah have detained each other's members since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007.


No Going Back

A new study is stating that climate change is irreversible.

Read the entire article for the details.

NOAA: New Study Shows Climate Change Largely Irreversible
The study notes that decreases in rainfall that last not just for a few decades but over centuries are expected to have a range of impacts that differ by region. Such regional impacts include decreasing human water supplies, increased fire frequency, ecosystem change and expanded deserts. Dry-season wheat and maize agriculture in regions of rain-fed farming, such as Africa, would also be affected.

Obama's Al-Arabiya TV Interview

I Just Want To Testify

Look doesn't Conyers understand?

We understand. Rove is above the law and not only that, Rove is a great patriot, Rove is a model of peace and gentility. We can't say enough good things about the man.

When we think of Rove, we would never ever want to see him face extended periods of time in jail. Rove never committed a war crime, he never committed treason. No, no, no.

There are extremely ugly individuals in this world who use their vast powers to manipulate, twist, and distort the rule of law. Rove is clearly not one of these people. What firings?

This is a man fully committed to democracy, equality, and harmony.

WaPo: Rove Ordered to Testify To Congress on Firings

CNN - Anatomy Of A Bank Failure

The Market On Tuesday

40,000 Americans lost their corporate jobs yesterday, virtually in a heartbeat. The number seems large but in reality the number only reflects the major players like Microsoft, Intel, etc. It does not reflect the smaller and less visible companies who are also laying off.

For example right in my community a local newspaper has laid off over a dozen people in their advertising department. There is a lot of state work in this area and so it is relatively stable economically. Yet why would a newspaper lay off advertising. Simple, because business is down. Imagine the implications in areas where a large company like GM has laid off a few thousand. Everything is shrinking, all types of business.

Futures are up, but this is meaningless in this market. Futures no longer indicate the direction of the market through the day. My wish is that it can at least perform like Monday where everything remained somewhat stable with gainers and losers.

If we all gather our collective mental power may be we can.... nah.

Reuters: Stocks seen opening higher; earnings in focus
...due to report quarterly results...Sun Microsystems...Yahoo...Bristol-Myers Squibb...DuPont...Verizon.

Henry Purcell

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Tuesday

The yen is soft and consequently Japanese exports look cheaper.

I'm not changing my prediction, the DOW is going to tank further. I hope I'm wrong. Can Obama keep the market buoyant with economic bailout chatter. That's a lot of face time with a microphone, but worth every penny.

Reuters: Nikkei jumps 3.5 pct as exporters rebound on yen
The Nikkei average climbed 3.5 percent on Tuesday after marking its lowest close in almost three months the previous day, with exporters up on a softer yen and Honda Motor jumping on a report of capacity expansion in China.


Something in the order of 70,000 corporate jobs were cut worldwide today.

Hey if you have a job, more power to you.

Unbelievably there was good news today with an uptick in the housing market. We bought a new house last month, closed on December 24th in fact, and we figure that helped up the figures by a healthy 50%! Please hold the applause.

To make matters worse, if you are living in upstate NY, we are going to get plastered with snow starting Tuesday night and running through Wednesday.

Stay warm, be kind, keep positive, and remember that behind the freezing cold snow clouds is a bright friendly sun.

Reuters: Home sales tick up but job cuts deepen gloom
The pace of sales of previously owned homes rose for the first time since September and inventory declined, a bit of positive news amid a U.S. housing market crash that has chilled growth...
Reuters: Job cuts mount; Pfizer, Barclays reignite optimism
Despite the corporate gloom, markets rallied on some of Monday's other news: No. 1 drugmaker Pfizer Inc said it would buy rival Wyeth for $68 billion, Barclays said it had no need to raise capital and sales of existing U.S. homes unexpectedly rose 6.5 percent.


CNN - Obama On The Recession

Here Obama does several things in one shot:
- he consoles the individuals and families affected by the layoffs
- he points out that bellwethers like Intel and Microsoft are laying off thousands
- he uses the big presidential megaphone to gather the American people's attention
- he takes a good shot at Republicans for obstructionism and divisiveness
- he helps keep the market buoyant by keeping the notion of another bailout in everyone's ears
- as a result the market closed today, Monday, up a few hairs rather than collapse under the weight of 50,000 more layoffs and horrible economic reports


Call it the clean up Bush's clean air policy.

You had to loathe Bush for his impertinence and contempt for environmental progress.

We applaud Obama on this latest reversal of tragic and flawed Bush policy.

Reuters: Obama begins reversing Bush climate policies
"Allowing California and other states to aggressively reduce their own harmful vehicle tailpipe emissions would be a historic win for clean air and for millions of Americans who want more fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly cars."

Amazing View

Please go to this sight and take a look at the inauguration from an amazing vantage with a movable and zooming camera in all directions! This is a must see.

The Inauguration

Twenty - Five Reasons

Read the article carefully...

The Guardian: Twenty-five people at the heart of the meltdown ...
Alan Greenspan, chairman of US Federal Reserve 1987- 2006...

Bill Clinton, former US president

George W Bush, former US president

Senator Phil Gramm (This is the man McCain used as an economic adviser)

Stan O'Neal, former boss of Merrill Lynch

CNN - White Phosphorus

The Market On Monday

I'm sorry to say, but I am revising my prediction, or is it a wish, that the DOW remains in the 8000s for the duration of the recession or until there is some economic growth.

The economy is failing and it will continue to fail probably for quite some time.

At present I am thinking there will not be a dramatic recovery. After the major carnage, after the major bombs of layoffs, foreclosures, negative growth, and deflation have hit, sometime in the distant future, there will be peace. There will not be major prosperity. We will simply stop seeing huge volumes of bad data.

We will slowly begin rebuilding and the landscape will be different. Conservatives will attempt to rebuild the old deregulated ponzi credit scheme landscape. The political battle to do this is already taking place and the entrenchments are shaping up.

Right now Obama needs to be firm and move us into a different economic territory. The Reagan-Clinton-Bush pee down economy is finished.

This recession will prove to be utterly tenacious. Republicans will point to the slowness of the "recovery" in order to gain political points in an attempt to regain power.

Bush has hidden the enormity of the economic disaster. People will slowly catch up in understanding the severity of the recession.

It will be a race to see how Obama's logical economic moves will carry in the face of outspoken political criticism and hatred - we already have Limbaugh calling for a failed Obama administration.

Unfortunately, if Republicans regain power, they will only add to the misery. The wealthy will once again start regathering all the money and wealth while the poor and middle classes will sink into massive debt and devaluation, much more so than what we are seeing now.

Reuters: Stock futures creep up; eyes on earnings
Stock index futures pointed to a flat to slightly higher open on Wall Street on Monday, as investors braced for monthly housing data and a flurry of corporate results.

"Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong"

T-Bone Walker

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Monday

Buy a dental guard this week.

There will be lots of corporate profit reports this week and profit is a thing of the past.

Pure hypothetical nonsense comment: If the DOW skids into the 6000 point area by Friday and I have no reason to think it may or may not, but if it does, consider buying that quadruple A stock you've had your eye on next Monday or Friday afternoon.

After all if the DOW skids lower than that, we may as well start trading rocks as money.

Reuters: Nikkei adds 0.2 pct on yen, earnings worry weighs
The Nikkei average rose 0.2 percent on Monday as a softer yen helped high-tech exporters...

House - Its A Wonderful Lie

More On Foreclosures

The article points out several problems resulting from the rapid increase in foreclosures:

- Banks take a period of time before the property is put back on the market
- Because it takes time to put the house back on the market, we do not see the complete mess we are in. We only know about foreclosures that have occurred when in fact more have occurred but are not listed yet.
- The flood of foreclosed homes will continue to erode the housing market.
- Banks may be holding onto properties in order to prevent housing prices from declining further.
- The correction in the housing market is further off than we might anticipate.
- Adding up these facts leads one to conclude that the foreclosure aspect of the recession is worse than we imagine or might have understood based on article data.

CNN Money: Flood of foreclosures: It's worse than you think
Many foreclosed homes and other distressed properties that are now owned by banks have yet to be listed for sale. The volume of this so-called 'ghost inventory' could be substantial enough to depress already steeply falling prices when it does go on the market.

"Once a bank repossesses a property, in some cases, it can take more than six months to hit the market."

Rachel Maddow - Obama, Republicans, The Stimulus

CNN - No Love For Bush


Look anyone who is complaining that Obama is out to impose unwanted regulations on finance can go sit on a root.

Just take a look at where deregulation has gotten us. We are supposed to trust the same greedy people who invented all of these credit Ponzi schemes to not do that anymore. Get real, and any Republican that has issues with this, sorry you lost your voice here.

NY Times: Obama Plans Fast Action to Tighten Financial Rules
Officials say they will make wide-ranging changes, including stricter federal rules for hedge funds, credit rating agencies and mortgage brokers, and greater oversight of the complex financial instruments that contributed to the economic crisis.

Over and Way Over

OK, two-thirds of us are now overweight or obese.

Look, cut the overeating the hell out!

I am completely pissed off at you all.

Cut the freakin' white flour out, the junk food is not good for you, you don't have to eat so much sugar and crappy oils.

Haven't you ever heard of eating organic, eating vegetables, whole grains, exercising. Grow up, you going to die from overeating or get some god awful shit disease.

Reuters: Obesity epidemic shows perils to health reform
About two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, putting them at an increased risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, osteoarthritis, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and respiratory problems and even some cancers.

Hero Welcomed

Let's face it this guy is our new hero.

It just shows you what experience, good judgment, a bit of courage, and excellent preparation and knowledge can do.

I know that people do heroic things all time that don't get any mention, so let's thank those people as well. It might even be you, so thank you.

LA Times: Pilot gets a hero's welcome on return home to California
The US Airways pilot (US Airways' Capt. Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger III) who deftly landed a disabled passenger jet in New York's Hudson River, saving 155 lives, told a cheering crowd of thousands Saturday that he simply did his job.

"Johnny Guitar"

The Spotnicks

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Testees - Gas Pill

An Emerging Sense Of The Unknown

For months MSM economic articles have offered little insight into the economic recession. Most articles would end with a line like - the deteriorating financial environment or some other similar reference to the voluminous bad data on corporate earnings, layoffs, and foreclosures, to go along with the frozen internal borrowing system, the lifeblood of corporate capitalism.

The tone of the economic articles is beginning to change and the sub chatter found hidden in lighter articles is changing.

They point to a complete sense of not knowing what is going on or what will happen in the great recession. Corporations are not predicting where their profits will go in the upcoming quarters. CEOs are openly admitting that they are clueless about what will happen in the upcoming month let alone the next year.

Personally I see this as an intelligent step and an honest admission. It makes people a little more open and a little more alert when they don't know what to expect. It also tends to cut off arrogance which is obnoxious and toxic.

So welcome to the unknown. The unknown is a time when great possibilities can arise, not just bad things, but also good things.

The economy is in a harsh way but somewhere in this darkness there will be a wide open area for some light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually it will come, there is too much decent intelligence out there for it to not occur.

Reuters: In unchartered waters, earnings outlooks dry up
"The lack of visibility makes it difficult to step up to the plate and say things are going to get better," she added. "We've lost so much (corporate) leadership over the past year. Who is going to want to be out there saying they know what's going on when no one really knows?"

Meditation and Depression

Its the middle of the winter. Many people are experiencing cabin fever a term which sometimes means depression.

I ran across this article by a Buddhist Lama, Ven. Traleg Rinpoche, on meditation and depression.
Depression is something that we all experience. It does not make any distinction in relation to people - young or old, rich or poor - and cuts across cultural and racial boundaries. Depression is also something that affects both religious-minded people and non-religious people. Practically every one of us, at some point, has had to deal with it. We may experience depression in many different ways. With some people, depression will be mild, while with others it will be very intense and debilitating. For some people it lasts for a short time and then disappears, while for others it may persist over many years or occasionally an entire lifetime.
Modern western psychology and psychiatry make a distinction between what is called 'indigenous depression' and 'reactive depression.' Indigenous depression is treated medically whereas the reactive type of depression is treated with psychotherapy and so on. I am not going to go into that however, as there are people more qualified than I to talk about depression from the medical and therapeutic points of view. Instead, I will talk about depression in the context of meditation practice and in the context of Buddhist spirituality.

To read the rest go here.

Obama's Weekly Address - The Economy

The Animal Odd Couple

Tough Week Ahead

If there was one point regarding the economy that became perfectly clear during Obama's first week in office, it is that things are far far worse than imagined.

The undercurrent seems to swirl around the conviction that no one really knows what to do. In this sense, Obama is in a very tight situation, but we know this.

Republicans have begun to rattle their objections to Obama. I find this verging on the absurd. Have these people so quickly forgotten the monstrosity of the Bush administration and its sheer, utter, and abysmal failure along with the massive volume of failure. And the answer is yes, they have forgotten.

The point here is that Republicans do not have anything to offer but failure. We have experienced this for eight unending years. Consequently our contempt for their policy mismanagement mixed with their sharp nasty tongues becomes stronger.

One thing that the Republican party might consider is a course in self-awareness. Before that it taken though, they may need to understand what that means.

Reuters: Stocks eye Obama, Fed, earnings
Next week, 137 companies in the S&P 500 and 12 Dow components will report earnings, in what's expected to be the weakest in this six-quarter streak of negative growth.

"My Girls"

Animal Collective

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jumping Stilts

Somebody showed up at my house wearing these today. It looks like fun.

Obama - Financial Recovery

Drone Strike In Pakistan

It didn't take long before Obama fell in line, although there was nothing in his pre-election dialogue that would have indicated a different approach to al Qaeda in western Pakistan.

Our neo-con compatriots should be partying.

Gulf News: 14 killed during suspected US airstrikes in Pakistan
Suspected US drones fired missiles into Pakistan on Friday killing at least 14 people, intelligence officials and residents said, in the first such strikes since Barack Obama became US president.

Gillibrand Is The New Senator From New York

Gillibrand is a fine fine choice by New York Governor Paterson.

She ran for congress a couple of years back and took down a right winger, John E. Sweeney. Recall that Sweeney was one of the “Brooks Brothers Riot” who helped get the lesser candidate Bush elected.

Sweeney has had his share of harder times recently.

She is a fine progressive candidate who will be very good.

NY Times: Paterson Picks Gillibrand for Senate Seat

CNN - The New Foreign Policy

The Market On Friday

With futures down and corporate reports also down, one question arises.

Thinking pessimistically, will the market crash lower than the November 20 and 21st debacle.

Thinking optimistically, will it be one of those days where the market rallies even though futures are down.

Regardless, unemployment is rising, and the undercurrent conversation seems to revolve around the fact that no one really seems to know what to do in this crisis.

How long can America savor hope.

Reuters: Stock futures point to lower Wall Street open
Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average, the Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 share indexes were down 2.1-2.4 percent on Friday, pointing to a sharply lower start on Wall Street.

Ahmadu Jarr & The Highlife Orchestra

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Friday

Market observers know that this is a brace yourself type of week.

Obama brings hope, but Wall Street is on a sick emotional nightmare roller coaster, where green money fields of prosperity have turned to aimless beings in search of a home all alone in the dark while stranded in poison snake infested alien bordello.

Get the picture.

Reuters: Nikkei sheds 2.8 percent as Sony, earnings worry drag showed further deterioration in the U.S. economy.

...its lowest since November 21.

Uh Oh

Here, David Gergen casually reports on the unspoken/unreported voices of the people in the administration about the economy.

This particular section caught my attention with the mention of possibly 750,000 layoffs per month.

Up to this point, most of the predictions have not come true because the outcomes have been worse!

The seriousness of the meltdown keeps coming through in unrelenting waves.

CNN: In the midst of celebration, darkening clouds
Unemployment continues to climb. Microsoft today announced the first broad layoffs in its history. How many more jobs will be lost in coming months is anybody’s guess. One well-informed observer told me over the weekend that the job losses of 500,000 a month over the fourth quarter – dramatic as they were — are likely to be topped in the first quarter of this year, perhaps reaching 750,000 a month.

Hellzapoppin' To "Jumpin' At The Woodside"

Unreal Dancing - ****+ four plus stars - Sande

First Steps In The Middle East

Diplomacy beats no diplomacy, and words suggesting peace are well intentioned.

For diplomacy to be even remotely effective both sides must come to the table.

Up to this point the strong arm tactic has produced very little peace. Yet strong arm tactics are favored and seem to be culturally ingrained.

Don't get your hopes up here. Mitchell is an interesting choice but his task is unparalleled. Most expect Obama to leave office with very little peace in the Middle East as the death toll will continue unabated with Israeli and Palestinian conflicts to come. Please make me wrong.

Gulf News: Obama issues appeal to Israel, Hamas
Obama called on Hamas to end rocket fire at Israel, and for Israel to complete the pullout of forces from Gaza.
Reuters: Obama names Mitchell as Mideast envoy
In a flurry of diplomatic activity in his first week in office, Obama also tapped former ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke to be the first-ever special U.S. envoy for Afghanistan, Pakistan and related issues.

Both the envoys have records of success in helping settle long-running violent conflicts -- Mitchell in Northern Ireland and Holbrooke in the Balkans.

Gitmo To End

This prison should never have started in the first place. Yet an arrogant president under the guidance of crazed neo-cons allowed this monstrosity to form and exist.

Reuters; Obama focuses on U.S. image, orders Guantanamo shut
President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered the closing of Guantanamo prison...
CNN: Freed Gitmo prisoner sues U.S. for unlawful detention
...Iqbal is suing the U.S. government for unlawful detention.

“I am angry in my heart,” Iqbal said in a recent interview. “It’s easy
for the U.S. government to say, ‘There are no charges found and he’s free.’
“But who will be responsible for seven years of my life?”
If Iqbal wins it is the American taxpayer who will foot the bill.

In truth the bill should go to Bush, Cheney, and their neo con masters.

CNN - Obama's Iraq Exit Strategy

The Market On Thursday

All kinds of high tech corporations and banks are reporting on profits today, like Microsoft, AMD, Google and we already know Apple did fine.

Yesterday a mixed futures market led to a significant gain in the DOW and S&P. Hopefully it will happen again today as Obama seems to realize that his statements about the economy have significant impact on the emotional well being of the investor class. How long can the message of hope keep the market from trolling into the 7000s or even 6000s given the bleak assessments we are continually hearing.

Speaking of bleakness, the article includes the information that INTEL will be laying off possibly up to 6,000 workers.

Reuters: Stock futures mixed ahead of Microsoft results
At 10 a.m. EST the Federal Housing Finance Agency issues House Price Index for November. In the previous month, the home price index fell 1.1 percent.

"Rip It Up'

Bill Haley

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Thursday

I was surprised to see that Apple has posted a profit in the quarter ending December 27.

I could kick myself for not checking it out completely when it was way down. Oh well.

It will be interesting to see if Obama inspires confidence and if that will translate into a "hope rally" in the markets.

Reuters: Nikkei down but off 2-month low, yen hits exporters
Japan's Nikkei stock average lost 0.2 percent on Thursday and hit a 2-month low...

Obama - First White House Proclamation

A National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation
As I take the sacred oath of the highest office in the land, I am humbled by the responsibility placed upon my shoulders, renewed by the courage and decency of the American people, and fortified by my faith in an awesome God.

We are in the midst of a season of trial. Our Nation is being tested, and our people know great uncertainty. Yet the story of America is one of renewal in the face of adversity, reconciliation in a time of discord, and we know that there is a purpose for everything under heaven.

On this Inauguration Day, we are reminded that we are heirs to over two centuries of American democracy, and that this legacy is not simply a birthright -- it is a glorious burden. Now it falls to us to come together as a people to carry it forward once more.

So in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, let us remember that: "The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation, and call upon all of our citizens to serve one another and the common purpose of remaking this Nation for our new century.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

Markets Gain

The DOW closed up 279 points, some of the severe market drop on Inaugural Day was recovered.

Treasury Sec nominee Timothy Geithner went before a Senate panel today. Geithner has the backing of Paul Volcker, Geithner is also the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. He gave out limited information on Obama's financial bail out plan and there's nothing new yet including the idea of setting up a "bad" bank to buy up bad debt, but we already know this.

Reuters: Stocks extend gains on IBM and banks
IBM...gave a solid forecast, while financials rallied a day after a steep slide.

The Daily Show - Inaugural Speech

Gitmo Trial Hiatus

Obama wins huge points for taking this action.

It appears that he is halting many of Bush's rulings in order to evaluate their legality and implications.

This is excellent.

Reuters: Obama seeks halt to Guantanamo trials
Hours after taking office on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered military prosecutors in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals to ask for a 120-day halt in all pending cases.

Good Start

Obama correctly put a halt to some last minute regulations imposed by Bush.

Check it out. One rule encouraged hospitals to enjoy doctors who refused to perform abortions or dispense contraceptives or else they would lose funding. Bush championed woman's rights like a used car salesman trying to pawn off a broken down Yugo.

Oh and let's not forget about the concession to the NRA. Yes we really need people to be armed to the teeth while walking around our national parks.

Bush, the SOB is gone, good riddance.

Yahoo: WHouse stops pending Bush regulations for review
President Barack Obama's new administration ordered all federal agencies and departments on Tuesday to stop any pending regulations until they can be reviewed by incoming staff, halting last-minute Bush orders in their tracks.

Controversial late rules by the outgoing Bush administration include allowing the carrying of concealed weapons in some national parks and prohibiting medical facilities from receiving federal money for discriminating against doctors and nurses who refuse to assist with abortions or dispense contraceptives based on religious grounds.

CNN - Obama's Neighborhood Ball

The Market On Wednesday

At this point we have a total feel for Bush's managerial style in terms of banking regulations and economic oversight. He basically went on vacation and cut brush in Crawford. He took a "hands off approach." The big boys said, Georgie you just go have yourself a little fun and let us worry abut it, oh and here's a little something to tie you over...

So we are now in the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. Its pretty harsh out there. Obama comes in now and attempts to mediate, right. He is going to somehow attempt to impose some structure over the Harvard MBA out to take every last penny for themselves environment that has cost us so dearly and will cost us dearly into the future.

So here we are. Obama is in. Soon we will be seeing what will happen. The Bush to Obama hiatus and pause is over. Obama's honeymoon will be over soon as well, when corporations pile on another half million jobs lost probably by months end.

Reuters: Stock futures mixed after selloff
Economic indicators on tap for Wednesday include the National Association of Home Builders monthly survey of builders.

"Man in the Box" Live

Alice In Chains

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Wednesday

The DOW dropped almost 350 points today and the optimism that fueled a short rally earlier this month is gone. Another day like today and we are charting the lowest territory yet.

So much for stability with the DOW hovering in the 8000s while the recession wears itself out.

Well, its game time. We were on pause waiting for dufus to get his miserable act out of the White House. He's gone and his policy debris is still scattered and lost in space. We don't really know how bad the wound is yet.

In a sense we are collectively going to have to recover from the shock of a Bush administration. This thing was painful. We need Bush recovery groups, talk therapy, diaries, and crying sprees.

The Nikkei is in the tank. There is no decent economic news on the horizon other than the hope that Obama can pull a rabbit out of the collective hat.

Reuters: Nikkei touches 2-month low on financial worry, yen
But other market players said hopes that had helped power a global stocks rally around the New Year had been unrealistic.

Off And Running - Downhill

Wall Street welcomed Obama as the 44th president with the worst stock drop in inauguration history.

The DOW has now dipped into the high 7,000s.

I have to admit, although its not a surprise, in a way its a surprise.

The next few days will be telling. Wall Street is not getting off on a good foot with Obama. Allegedly they did not like the fact that no new details were laid out in his inaugural speech. Does this make sense to anyone? Its an inaugural speech not a corporate recap for investors. I always like it when people find error in all the wrong places.

Reuters: US STOCKS-Banks, profit worry sink Wall St on Inauguration Day
"Stocks are getting crushed because of the never-ending tragedy that has fallen upon the banking sector," said Tom Sowanick, chief investment officer of Clearbrook Financial LLC in Princeton, New Jersey.

Full Speech

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.